After two previous podium finishes at the UTMB festival’s TDS, Russia’s Dmitry Mityaev will try his legs at the 2021 UTMB. In the following interview, Dmitry talks about life, running, and coaching during the COVID-19 pandemic, why he’s moving up to the 100-mile distance at UTMB, and what he thinks his potential at this year’s race is.
Check out our men’s and women’s previews before following our UTMB live coverage starting on Friday.
Dmitry Mityaev Pre-2021 UTMB Interview Transcript
iRunFar: Meghan Hicks of iRunFar. I’m with Dmitry Mityaev. It’s a couple of days before the 2021 UTMB. Hi, Dimitry.
Dmitry Mityaev: Hi.
iRunFar: How are you doing? You’ve been in Chamonix for a couple of months.
Mityaev: Yes, thank you. I am fine. We’ve been here for two months. Yeah, long time in Chamonix, but I’m very happy [to be] back to Chamonix, back for big races.
iRunFar: You have run the TDS here at the UTMB festival twice before, is that correct?
iRunFar: But your first UTMB.
Mityaev: Yeah. I ran two times the TDS. But in UTMB it will be my first 100 miles. Yep.
iRunFar: It’ll be your first 100 miler, but TDS is almost 100 miles. It’s 90.
Mityaev: Yeah, TDS was the same and last year I ran the same project around [Mount] Elbrus, 145 kilometers. Yeah. The same altitude as UTMB.
iRunFar: Was that for a speed effort or was it a fun project on Elbrus?
Mityaev: Fun project, yeah, but I broke [the] record. Yeah. [For] 145k I ran 60 hours. Yeah, it was great. Great project. Yeah.
iRunFar: Having run TDS twice and coming to the podium twice on TDS, what are your thoughts and expectations for yourself going to UTMB on Friday?
Mityaev: Yeah. TDS four years ago I ran with [an] injury. Yeah. I had problem with my knee. I ran normal to uphill. I [felt a] problem with my knee downhill. And in Les Houches, I ran first and after Les Houches was the flat part.
iRunFar: Yeah, yeah.
Mityaev: To Chamonix. And I didn’t, I didn’t run normal in the flat part… I finished with third. But two years ago in TDS I ran first, long distance first. And after I had problem with my stomach, yeah. Two times I had problem. And I finished with second. Yeah, but I don’t know. Now [I am] a little bit worried to be before TDS, or before UTMB. Yeah. I don’t know. We’ll see.
iRunFar: Why are you worried? Are you, is it, is it the extra distance, the competition, your stomach? What makes you think about the race?
Mityaev: Yeah. UTMB is the most important race in the world. For me, the greatest in my career, UTMB. I don’t know. My preparing was good, but I had problem 10 days ago with my stomach. I didn’t [do] normal training, [for] one week. Now it feels okay. But I always think what is normal before big races.
iRunFar: To worry about everything.
iRunFar: The pandemic, for COVID-19, changed all of our lives and especially when you’re an athlete, and you can’t go race. You’re from Russia, you were at home during most of the pandemic? How did you spend that time?
Mityaev: Yeah, my last race was in Mexico, in one-and-a-half years ago. And after this race was scary time.
Mityaev: But couldn’t change it. For all people, for all sportsmen, it was a very bad time for motivation for training, but I did normal training. For me is not bad. A long time without races is bad for mental, but for preparing for next time, for me [it’s] good. Yeah, I did normal training, but a little bit changing focus from races to a lot of preparing for long. Yeah.
iRunFar: Yeah. You and your wife Ekaterina [Mityaeva] who’s just behind the camera here, you, in addition to being runners, you’re coaches.
iRunFar: Were you able to still have your business during COVID? Did you have athletes to coach?
Mityaev: Yeah, yeah. We had project Trail Running School. We trained a lot of people from Russia and from Europe.
iRunFar: You were able to still do your job.
iRunFar: Excellent. What is the thing, last question for you. What is the thing you are most looking forward to when it comes to UTMB on Friday and Saturday?
Mityaev: Uh, I don’t know. [laughs]
iRunFar: [laughs] None of it? All of it?
iRunFar: Okay, I’ll try one more last question then. If you could predict your finish for UTMB, where do you predict yourself? Podium? Fourth place? Third place?
Mityaev: For me it’s very important to realize my shape. I think, top five for me would be very good. Top 10, good.
Mityaev: I don’t know. I like trail. I like mountains. Yeah. Chamonix for me is a very special place. Some years ago in here was my first international race. Yeah. I will enjoy.
iRunFar: Yeah, yeah. Well best of luck to you as you make your way around Mont Blanc on Friday and Saturday.
Mityaev: Yeah. Thank you so much.